David Scotton was a junior at Jesuit High School last February when he gave a riveting speech at the New Orleans Regional Pro-Life Oratory contest.
His talk was about two Indiana teenagers – Melissa and Brian – who were seniors in high school and then discovered they were pregnant.
Thinking that their best option was an abortion, they went to an abortion clinic and had to cross the sidewalk where pro-life advocates were praying for women to change their minds about having an abortion.
“One woman told Melissa that her baby had 10 fingers and 10 toes,” Scotton said. “Melissa still proceeded inside, but as she sat, she realized that her baby was real and was meant for someone special. They left the abortion clinic and started the adoption process.”
‘Here I am now’
And then Scotton looked up at his audience and said: “Here I am now. I was that baby.”
Scotton’s emotional and very personal story won the hearts of the judges, who voted his talk the best of all entrants. Scotton also won second place in the state contest, and he got to deliver his speech in front of the entire student body at Jesuit last May.
Scotton ended his talk by giving voice to an unfulfilled dream: “I want to thank my parents for adopting me, and one day I hope to have the opportunity to thank my birth mother for choosing life.”
In June, Scotton was at home with his family when they received a telephone call from the adoption agency, saying that Melissa, now 37, was interested in receiving an “update” on her biological son David.
‘Out of the blue’
“The agency asked us if we would consider writing her a letter,” said Susan Scotton, David’s adoptive mother. “This was out of the blue. We thought she must have heard about David’s speech, because why else, out of the blue, would she be doing it? We sent her a copy of the talk and we talked about possibly getting them together.”
In the letter, Scotton mentioned that he was on Facebook. A short time later, he received a “friend request” from someone he did not know. Since there was no picture or personal information attached to the request, Scotton set it aside.
“I thought it was some random stalker on Facebook, so I just ignored it,” Scotton said.
It wasn’t until the older sister of Scotton’s girlfriend Sydney Flemming got a similar request – urging Scotton to accept the friendship request – that Scotton finally realized it might have some connection to his biological mother Melissa.
“Her first message to me was that she was so excited to hear from ‘my son David,’” Scotton told a large gathering at the Proudly Pro-Life Dinner Jan. 12 at Chateau Golf and Country Club.
Scotton wrote back and asked if Melissa had any other children. It turns out Scotton has a sister and a stepsister.
“It was a lot – it was a little overwhelming,” Scotton said. “I wanted to back off a little bit and I told her, ‘I will see you sometime, just not right now.’ It was a whole lot to take in.”
The Scottons told Melissa that the original speech was on the Jesuit website, and after she saw it, Scotton said “she was very, very emotional. She’s very happy with this whole thing. That’s the simplest way to describe it.”
Scotton, who is president of the Pro-Life Club at Jesuit, told the Proudly Pro-Life Dinner that the fruits of pro-life activities often go unnoticed, but he was living proof of someone whose life was saved by prayer and presence.
“The pro-life cause may seem like the movie, ‘Mission Impossible,’” Scotton said. “It’s very understandable for people to think that because of the statistics – 3,700 abortions are performed in the United States every day, 30 right here in Louisiana, and 10 at the Ridgelake (Avenue) clinic right there in Metairie. I know that’s depressing.”
But Scotton said pro-lifers are doing “great.”
“You see a success standing right in front of you, able to talk to you tonight,” Scotton said. “It is not ‘Mission Impossible.’ Because of that one woman at the abortion clinic, my life was saved and I was, in turn, able to influence so many people with my story. People can make a difference and they did. I’m living testimony to that. You just never know how many lives you are going to save or that you’ve saved already.”
Scotton said eventually he may meet his biological mother Melissa in person, and the two may collaborate on a pro-life video.
“This is David’s choice, and we respect his choice,” said Susan Scotton. “We would love for them to meet, but David’s not quite ready. He might need a little more time. But we are more than supportive of all of it and couldn’t be more joyful. We would love to meet her someday and thank her for the joy and gift she gave us.”
Also at the dinner, New Orleans Right to Life and the Louisiana Pro-Life Council honored the Woman’s New Life Center and Catholic Charities ACCESS Pregnancy/Referral Centers for their pro-life work over many decades.
Peter Finney Jr. can be reached at email@example.com.